Photo via bestfriends.org

Social distancing, shelter-in-place guidelines and self-isolation have become the new normal for many Americans over the last few weeks. Although forced to stay separated from many loved ones and friends, students and other young adults have been finding solace in animal companions. 

Household pets have been known for their ability to help provide relief and aid for pet owners who suffer from mental health disorders and many common illnesses. Certain adults who suffer from anxiety or depression can often turn to pets to calm their stress levels and provide companionship in times of struggle. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that people find ways to stay calm and enjoy themselves while being cooped up and separated. 

“Having my cat with me during this difficult time has been so helpful and allowed me to keep up with my mental health,” fourth-year secondary education and math student Becca Campbell said. 

There have been thousands of reported statistics showing the negative effects that social distancing and self-isolation can have on a person during this time, and many medical sites and news articles are offering possible tips and tricks for helping to “fight the corona blues.”  Household pets have been one way that people are trying to combat these feelings of depression and self-isolation, allowing the chance for millions of animals to be adopted out of shelters around the world.

“My dog has definitely been spending more time with me, he usually doesn’t like to. It’s gotten to the point where he follows me upstairs for bedtime,” third-year social work student Mariah Davis said. “He’s been really comforting, especially when I’m having a bad day and he comes into my room and just lays next to me. He’s an almost 14-year-old rat terrier.”

Dogs and cats are two of the most popular household pets to own and adopt among college students due to their activity levels and emotional support. Pets can allow you to stay active and make sure you are having fun while being away from friends and unable to do many everyday activities. Although many beaches and parks are closed in the country, there are still a variety of natural outdoor locations where students can spend time isolating and making sure their pet gets everything they need to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

“I bond with my dog Hermes because his personality is similar to mine. Whenever he sees me stressing, he lays down on me and forces me to calm down, and it’s exactly what I need at that moment,” second-year anthropology student Autumn Rogers said. “My other dog, Apollo, is extremely energetic and loves playing, which helps get me out of a depressive episode when he drops a toy on my lap. They both greet everyone in the family and give us so much love.”

Bangor Humane Society and other adoption centers in the local area have seen an influx of students and young adults coming by to adopt a new pet. Many adoption centers around the country have announced their lack of availability due to the increase in adoptions, and some are now completely empty, with all the animals in a new home. One positive thing that has come out of this pandemic is the fact that thousands of pets now have homes and can keep their new owners company while also providing them relief and aid during this time. To see the Bangor Humane Society’s current listings of animals available for adoption, please visit https://www.bangorhumane.org/adoption/pet-listings/dogs-and-puppies/.